the Palestinian Authority’s risky bet in the face of annexation

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the meeting of Palestinian leaders in Ramallah (West Bank) on May 19.

At first, few took the threat of rais seriously. The May 19, in the middle of Ramadan, the Palestinian president appeared behind his massive desk, framed by two huge flags. In response to Israeli plans to annex part of the occupied West Bank, Mahmoud Abbas announced that the Palestinian Authority, which he heads, is “Absolved, effective today, of all of its agreements with the US and Israeli governments and all of its obligations based on these agreements, including those relating to security”. The 85-year-old leader had raised this warning many times in the past, but never acted on it.

This time, Mahmoud Abbas intends to keep his promise: the Palestinians are gradually cutting bridges in the hope of making the Israelis back off on their annexation plan. In late May, Fatah, the president’s party, released two videos on Twitter purporting to show Palestinian security forces blocking the entry of Hebron and Bethlehem governorate to Israeli soldiers. Since the president’s speech, “There has been no Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation at any level”said Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh at a press conference in Ramallah on Tuesday June 9.

” On one’s last legs “

Honored by the Palestinians, security cooperation is an essential instrument of Israeli control over the occupied West Bank, interrupted only once during the second intifada, from 2000 to 2005. However, behind the grave statements, Ramallah suggested Hebrew state that he would not leave the “Settling chaos” on the other side of the green line. “There is still some de facto coordination, but much less communication between the two sides”, nuance Céline Touboul, co-director of the Economic Cooperation Foundation, one of the Israeli architects of the Oslo Accords.

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For the moment, the raïs has only torn apart part of the agreements, the Oslo II component, which dictates the concrete implementation of the process launched by the famous handshake between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin in Washington, in 1993 Ramallah thus also ceased to act as the interface between the Palestinians and the Hebrew state. Permits, visas, administrative procedures … Palestinian counters no longer transmit requests to Israel.

Patients waiting for a permit to be treated there find themselves in limbo. “We are in the midst of medical chaos: today there are hundreds of patients, soon thousands”, warns Ghada Majadle, the director of the occupied territories for the NGO Physicians for Human Rights Israel. The organization followed the case of an 8-year-old boy with heart problems who was unable to leave Gaza for treatment at an Israeli hospital because the Palestinian civil committee refused to submit his permit application. Other patients were not treated in Israel because the Palestinian Authority no longer covers their treatment costs.

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